According to emails received in Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, public interest group Judicial Watch indicate that Elizabeth Warren has been taking a more direct role in pushing the agenda of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) than she stated in her Congressional testimony.
In a March 16, 2011 hearing of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Warren stated that the agency's involvement in the settlement negotiations involving the Department of Justice, the Treasury Department, state Attorneys General and the largest bank and mortgage servicing entities, had only been in response to requests for advice from the participants.
However, according to the public interest group, the emails suggest that Warren and the agency took a more direct and aggressive role in influencing the negotiations. The group raised concerns that the CFPB failed to fully comply with the FOIA request by responding with a heavily redacted document. “The Consumer Financial Protection Board is being born in an atmosphere of secrecy and cover-up,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “And the fact that the CFPB has been unwilling to abide by FOIA law certainly makes it appear the agency has something to hide from the American people."
The emails point to efforts made by the CFPB to organize meetings and put forth the views of the CFPB related to the negotiations. Judicial Watch indicates that the emails show a pattern of Warren and the agency directly seeking to influence the direction of negotiations, instead of responding to requests for advice.
Judicial Watch expressed concerns that Warren, appointed as a special advisor to the Treasury in order to help set-up the CFPB, has in fact, been acting as director of the agency without being nominated or been put through a confirmation hearing.
Under the Dodd-Frank Act, the CFPB is set to officially gain its regulatory authority on July 21, 2011. Included in their responsibilities will be regulation over mortgage disclosures related to RESPA and TILA.